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Alpine Weighs Radical Shift: Considering Customer F1 Team Status and Ditching Renault Engines for 2026

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Alpine might switch to using customer F1 engines instead of their own Renault engines starting in 2026.

According to reports, Alpine may consider abandoning their Renault engines to become a customer team in Formula 1 starting from 2026.

According to Autosport, Alpine is exploring this option and has initiated discussions with competing manufacturers regarding the potential for a customer agreement.

This action would result in Alpine closing their Renault engine facility, located in Viry-Chatillon, a suburb of Paris.

Renault has faced difficulties with the performance of their power units for multiple years and is presently trailing behind other F1 engine makers.

As reported by Autosport, Alpine's team leader Bruno Famin has been "considering the circumstances over the past few weeks" and is currently evaluating other possibilities.

Alpine might look to negotiate an agreement with Red Bull Powertrains, which will provide engines to both Red Bull and their affiliate team RB starting in 2026 under the new engine rules.

Mercedes might become a potential choice for Alpine since the German automaker will no longer have Aston Martin as a customer starting in 2026, when Aston Martin transitions to Honda engines.

In 2015, Mercedes provided engines to Alpine when the team was still known as Lotus.

Honda, which is set to re-enter Formula 1 in 2026 to supply engines for Aston Martin, might also be a potential alternative for Alpine.

In response to speculation about a potential sale, Renault CEO Luca de Meo has reaffirmed his dedication to the future of the Alpine F1 team.

“That’s not how I operate. We won’t be selling any portion of this. We don’t require the funds,” De Meo stated to Autocar.

"I've been receiving offers from all directions, with people even discussing them in the media. However, we are not interested. It would be foolish, and I am not going to proceed with it."

Nevertheless, De Meo acknowledged that Renault's power unit has not been very competitive since the V6 hybrid era started in 2014.

He admitted that when the hybrid era started in 2014, their engine underperformed. Although they had achieved world champion status with Red Bull, the transition to hybrid technology didn't go as planned.

According to the latest insights, the engine created back in 2021 lagged by approximately 0.2 to 0.5 seconds per lap. This year, the situation has worsened due to issues with the car's performance. When these factors are combined, the total shortfall reaches up to 1.5 seconds from the target.

Alpine is facing a challenging season in 2024, currently sitting in eighth place in the constructors' championship with only five points accumulated over the first nine races.

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